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Genes Dev. 2012 Apr 1;26(7):638-40. doi: 10.1101/gad.191049.112.

Retrotransposon insertion targeting: a mechanism for homogenization of centromere sequences on nonhomologous chromosomes.

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  • 1Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri at Columbia, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA. birchlerj@missouri.edu


The centromeres of most eukaryotic organisms consist of highly repetitive arrays that are similar across nonhomologous chromosomes. These sequences evolve rapidly, thus posing a mystery as to how such arrays can be homogenized. Recent work in species in which centromere-enriched retrotransposons occur indicates that these elements preferentially insert into the centromeric regions. In two different Arabidopsis species, a related element was recognized in which the specificity for such targeting was altered. These observations provide a partial explanation for how homogenization of centromere DNA sequences occurs.

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